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Killer Penguin Barleywine | Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

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330 Reviews
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Killer Penguin BarleywineKiller Penguin Barleywine

Brewed by:
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Colorado, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-12-2003

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Reviews: 330 | Ratings: 721
Photo of akorsak
3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A wax-capped bottle with a wooden '2006' marker mounted on said wax. I bought this last fall from Liquid Solutions and finally decided that now is the time.

A: The barleywine has an attractive copper red color, trending towards a more orange amber color when light shines through it. There is minimal head atop the beer.

S: The nose is a malty explosion, thick with dark fruits and grains. Some pine hop aromas add a further depth.

T: A sip reveals as much malt as the nose gives off. Dark alefruits and spices (vanilla and cinnamon) spring to mind. The flavors are quite harsh, still malty hot after a year in the cellar. Hops are nowhere to be found, making me view this as more English than American. The ale is very thick, almost chewy.

M: The malts are dense and a muddling mouth that never really finds its way is the result. The big blast upfront leaves a bitter malty finish that I don't like in a barleywine.

D: I really wanted to like this one, due in part to the nice packaging, but I just don't. I don't expect to finish the bomber.

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Photo of mntlover
3.98/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear brownish red color with a nice fluffy khaki head, good looking barley wine love red. Head falls to ringed foam lots of lace laying around. Also mention the bottle on this one, one killer looking bottle and penguin nice red wax seal with 2007 embedded into it.

Aroma is nice malty lots of caramel sweetness with hints of dark fruits coming out. Tons of malt backbone on this one hops are there but playing second fiddle, smells more English then American.

Taste is like the nose lots of malt caramel mingled with molasses goodness through in hints of plums and raisins. You have one tasty malt bomb. Not forgetting about the hops they do show up in the taste light pink grapefruit mingles in with herbal spicy like bitterness that lingers a while but not too intense. This is one pretty good English Barley Wine.

Mouthfeel is the one issue I see seems decent medium but tends to lighten up in the finish.

Drinkability is good this is a pretty enjoyable brew even if miss labeled. Want to thank merlin48 for sending this treat to me.

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.67/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage. Pours a dark amber in color, clear, with a small to average size light cram head that quickly fades. Aroma is some aged maltiness of raisins, sweet malt aroma, cherry sugar, and some peppery signs of alcohol strength. Little swirl in the glass brings out some very nice pruney aged malt aroma and a bit of leather. Taste follows with some caramel malt, a touch of raisin / prune, some breadiness and hints of citrus hops. Medium in body, somewhat lighter in mouthfeel than I expected but gets better as it warms. A decent alc bite and peppery hoppiness lead to a fairly drying finish, cutting thru any sweet coating. Good beer, I hope some of the great aromas come thru in the taste as this one ages.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle '07
This one is ruby-red amber with a crispy and lively look with a smooth, creamy white head that is really sticky, eventually dissipating to a fine covering.

The nose is very herbal and earthy from the hops then pops out the sweet malt with a caramel edge and becoming very hoppy again.

The flavor is that of burnt caramel, big, sweet herbal malt, very home-brew-like. The balance of hops and malt is very nice, the malt is smooth and buttery, not as complex as some, but the hop complexity is really good and the high abv adds a much needed kick!

Full bodied, smooth thick and heavy...but not without a certain crispness.

I love barleywine's and this one is pretty dang good.

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Photo of YonderWanderer
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage

A: Pours a clear brownish/red with no head to speak of. A bit of white foam forms around the edges. A bit of carbonation is visible on the side of the glass.

S: Caramel, a bit of fruit, a bit of hops, and a nice hit of alcohol mixed in all come together in the nose.

T: Similar to the nose, but amazingly well-balanced. For a barleywine, this is a solid example. A good blend of hops, caramel malt, candy sugar, and some fruits. I wish they would barrel age this one!

M: Smooth, not syrupy at all), with a hint of carbonation. Very nice.

D: This is a solid barleywine, and quite tasty at that! I really enjoyed it, and I have a few more waiting for me for sometime in the future.

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Photo of rsyberg01
2.23/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

S - Bomber, '06, from notes, drank fresh

A - Pours a clear burnt orange, head begins at about a finger, then down to an unscathed layer of fine foam.

S - Big spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, slightly sugary, slight alcohol, touch of caramel...interesting.

T - Bitter, astringent, uncomfortable in my mouth (thats what she said), Did not expect it to be like this. Tastes like I'm drinking chemicals.

M - Aside from the taste, the mouthfeel isnt bad.

D - Yikes, period.

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Photo of Jmamay22
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage with wax sealed cap. I could do without fancies, but if the beer is good I will forgive.

Pours a clear brown with hint of ruby red and orange. Not too much of a head, just a thin wispy off white collar. No carbonation evident and no lacing.

Smells of citrus hops and orange rind mixed with very boozy fruit. The alcohol isn't obtrusive or nasty in any sense, but mixes well with the brew and is to style.

First thing I note when sipping this Barley Wine is the balance of sweetness to the hops. This wasn't the same as the nose and things mellow out nicely together. Candy sugars mix with the citrus hops to create a balanced taste. Some fruit notes mixed with a heavy hand of alcohol, but not a whole lot going on. Caramel and honey if think hard. Not your typically overhopped American BarleyWine.

Mouthfeel is a little thin in my opinion for the style and taste. That said it is very smooth and creamy with the subdued carbonation. Drinkability is hindered by the obtrusive nature of the alcohol flavors. I don't think any aging would serve to smooth this out any better as the bottle indicates it has already been aged a year. A fancy bottle for a slightly above average drink, but kudos for giving a go for something slightly off the beaten path. I wasn't turned off, but I was looking for better.

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Photo of cabsandking
4.02/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2006, 22oz bottle
Amber color with orange/red highlights and some beige lace pools and ring. Tropical fruits, bubble gum, vanilla, toffee malts, and resinous hops. Subtleness early on with notes of earthy nutty malts, twangy to minty character, and herbal tea hops. Peppery bitterness in the middle and piny hop oils on its tail. Caramel notes and chocolate malt notes fade in and out. The finish is dry, burnt sugars, a tad twangy minty. Full body, medium mouthfeel that’s semi-smooth, and carbonation is right there. A lot of stuff going on here, just not sure it all goes together. A year has done it well and another year might take care of rest.

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Photo of brentk56
3.94/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage, sampled in Oct 07

Appearance: Pours a cloudy caramel color with a modest head that doesn't retain particularly well but dots the glass with lace

Smell: What a nice caramel malt aroma! Rich with deep burnt sugar tones, figs and dates

Taste: OPens with a rich caramel flavor that delivers some of the dried fruit from the aroma, as well as some powdery chocolate; after the swallow, it all disappears like a chimera into a watery mess; some residual piney bitterness on the finish, however

Mouthfeel: Medium body but way too watery for a barleywine; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Despite its flaws, this barleywine is drinking nicely now; just wish the flavor matched the aroma

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.06/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

With a healthy pour, the color was reddish amber color. A healthy and prominent head with good retention and staying power.

The nose offers a sweet floral hop aroma, with caramel and touches of toffee malt. Some lighter fruity noses as well as a distinctive fig aroma with slightest hints of raisin.

The taste is limited and rather wispy. There are some caramel and toffee with a underlying of herbaceous and floral hops. Phenol alcohol is very noticeable in the finish. Fig and rasing are also present but not nearly as much as in the nose.

I want to say the body is watery but that really isn’t it. The malt is just lacking complexity. Especially for a Barleywine.

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Photo of Drew966
3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Killer Penguin Barleywine (2006) pours a light reddish copper color with a thick off white head from a brown twenty two ounce bottle that was wax dipped. The aroma is on the hoppy side, but the malt does make an appearance. The mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but it's okay. Hops come up first, then the malt fades in, but I have to say, I took a big swig and I could definitely taste the alcohol in the middle/toward the end. It has a bit of an aftertaste that I really can't quite put my finger on, but it's not especially pleasant (I suspect it may just be the alcohol mixed in with the malt flavors). Overall, this is a decent barleywine, but not outstanding.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.46/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 Bottle Vintage, sampled August 2007
I'll admit to the fact that I have been sort of avoiding this beer for quite some time; I haven't heard too many great things about it, but there is only one way to really know.

Topped by a frothy, initially three finger thick, tan colored head in my 25cl tulip glass. The beer is a lightly hazed, reddish amber colored brew. Up front the aroma is a concentrated mix of hop and malt character. Almost immediately though it starts to pick up a note reminiscent of rancid cheddar cheese, fungal focused mushrooms, and dirty old socks; somehow these lost, out of place aromatic notes bring a smile to my face as they make me think how much I would like to be smelling a funky Lambic beer right now. Alas this is no lambic, and the funk just gets in the way of the concentrated malt and hop character that should be the sole focus of this beer. The malt and hop aromatics are noticeable, in fact they are bigger than the funk (which is just so out of place that it is quite noticeable); notes of caramel, toasted grain, sweet citrus and a herbal, almost menthol-like hop character. Interestingly enough the super funky aromatics seem to dissipate, for the most part, after a short bit of time leaving nothing but a tainted memory for the nose to live through.

The flavor is lightly sweet for a beer of this stature; the malt sweetness is well balanced by a herbal hop character and bitterness. Candied grapefruit peel, a zesty carbonation, notes of pine and a touch of minty basil help to balance and even at times show up the malt character of this beer. The malt character focuses on crystal malt like notes of caramel, toasted grain, sweet raisins, brown sugar coated biscuits, and even some hints of roasted malt character in the finish (perhaps reminiscent of almost black toast, or even lightly roasted, spent coffee grounds. The beer has a solid bitterness, though it is certainly not on the high end for an American-styled Barleywine.

The aroma of this beer started out down-right wrong, but seemed to correct itself after being allowed to breath for a bit. Luckily by the time I got to the taste, the really weird funky notes had almost all but disappeared, if they were ever noticeable. In the end this beer is quite a bit more enjoyable that I had feared; part of this may have been my initial low expectations and the fact that the aroma started out so poorly; the beer recovered though and has become quite a tasty tipple. The lesson, definitely let this beer sit for a while after you pour it to give it a chance to breath and open up.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

1 pt 6 fl oz brown bottle, wrapped in red wax; served in a snifter.
Vintage 2006.

Deep, glowing peach with ruby highlights. Dense, white foam that plasters the snifter's sides. Thin and spotted lacing with good strength.

Sweet honey and vanilla with an intense whaff of alcohol; bleach-like (?). Dark, fruity esters: plum, cherry along with some orange zest and ripe apple.

Soft caramel and milk chocolate tones prior to a sharply acidic and tart citrus flavor: lemon, orange, green apple. The harsh, young alcohol presence is intense and one-dimensional. The finish is earthen with tones of milk chocolate and caramel.

Full bodied; creamy yet slick and warming.

A pleasant, full flavored Barleywine still quite young. This would benefit greatly by laying it down for another year.

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Photo of billybob
4.07/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured from a 22 oz. bottle with a wax seal color is a clear reddish copper with a half inch beige head that faded quickly to just the beer with minimal lacing. aromas of sweet caramel malt and alcohol mixing with slightly spiced hops. slightly fruity up front turning to malty caramel then the alcohol sneaks in to warm the finish. mouthfeel is light and carbonation fades to almost flat. i liked it because the alcohol is not up front in your face it sort of sneaks in there. good for one or two.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A looking glass series offering from Boulder. Red wax seal with a 2006 logo on the front.

Pours a dark amber color with a huge reddish hint in there. Nice silky pillow like one finger off white head. Thick lacing coats the glass. Excellent thin retention. Big malt notes with a good measure of sweetness to them. Syrupy notes with a touch of honey. Boozyness is present but not too big--sort of kept in check. Spicy hops are present with a bit of fruitiness that comes through after a swirl of the glass.

Quite a dry brew right from the beginning. Pretty decent malt background. Syrupy and thick with a caramel sweetness that's a bit subdued. Hop notes are there and can be detected by the spicyness on the tongue. Well balanced with neither the malts or hops taking command. Bitterness in the finish dries out the tongue. Sweetness in the finish is quite a bit actually. Subtle, but qu9ite powerful at 10%. Sipping beer that'll bite you in the ass if you drink it too fast.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
2.69/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Light red body, good clarity, nice carbonation, topped by a fairly level half-inch of oatmeal colored foam. Soon to be a table top, then an oil spill.

Mild sweet candy aroma with some hints of yeast, though over all a rather subdued nose for a barleywine.

Sweet start lightly slides across the tongue, though not cloying, it lacks depth. Subtle hop blunt the sweetness and add a small zip at the finish and a little tingle in the aftertaste. Very mild warmth from alcohol.

Mouthfeel is thin for a barleywine. Drinkability is too easy.

Nothing bad here, but nothing interesting either. I was expecting a fireplace sipper, but this is just too laid back in every respect. Disappointing after Hazed & Confused and Mojo.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
3.18/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2006 vintage, nice presentation in a 22oz wax dipped bottle.
Served cellar temp in a brandy snifter.
Brilliant reddish copper. Low white head, fine bubbles.
Lots of sweet malt aromas. Hop aroma developed as it warmed. Plenty of citrusy American hops.
Very sweet to start. Not a whole lot of hop bitterness, but a decently dry hop finish.
I think this could have used a little more bitterness to balance out all the malt sweetness. Not a lot of body.
It was decent, definitely worth trying, but there are better Barley Wines out there.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.37/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger, cream head that slowly fades to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Nose is like an oak barrel. Clear deep amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is malty with background hops, sour grapefruit finish. Disappointing barleywine. 2006 vintage, $6.20 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chestnut brown with a medium sized head of frothy beige foam. Minimal retention and sparse lacing.

Aroma is very averale; caramel, toasty grain, sweet fruit, and pine and light floral hops.

Flavor is equally ordinary. A moderate caramel and grain malt entry with some light fruit in the middle finishes with orangey citrus, pine, and flowery hops.

Body is a modest medium, with a nice creamy texture and OK drinkability. An easily forgettable Barleywine that just blends into the landscape.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.78/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Beerandblues2: Poured a clear medium amber color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of bitter hops is dominating with some notes of alcohol and sugar. Taste is way too hoppy for my own taste in barleywine with some medium sugar and light alcohol peak. Body is slightly too light with some medium carbonation. Overall, I thought this was too hoppy and bitter and generally lacking some character.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage. Pours a fairly light caramel (for a barleywine anyways). Not much head, although decent lacing. First taste was moderately hoppy with frankly a thinnish malt backbone. It doesn’t seem to have the creamy mouthfeel I’m looking for in this style. That being said, its quite drinkable. Not one of those slow sippers. Finish is dry with some tobacco notes. Overall- decent brew for a cold snowy day like today.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.93/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a big thick head that falls into a swirlly cirrus cloud head with almost no lacing. The color is a deep light brown color. The smell is a bit sour, but still has the same characteristics that remind me of a barleywine. The mouthfeel is the best feature, pretty nice. Overall it was good to try.

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Photo of frazbri
3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Killer Penguin Barleywine poured clear, copper-auburn topped by a respectable off-white head. Smells of pine cones, orange peel and apples hit the nose. Flavor had a sweet start, with a clean bitter finish. A little apricot and citrus flavor was in there. Carbonation was in the mid range and the body was in the middle as well.

The key word for this brew is balance. Nothing was dominant. The downside of this was nothing about the Killer Penguin was truly outstanding. There wasn't enough in the nose to draw me in. The body was too light for my tastes. It's a respectable beer, but not a special one.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The most overposted beer on BA in the past six months. Overhyped?, great pubilicity?, too fancy?, too ridiculous? All apply in some form. Unfortunatley for this beer it followed the end of a two year old bomber of Smutty Wheat Wine. Bland taste, first and foremost, stale and not definative characteristics to speak of. Nose, decent, slightly fruity and that's it. Went down pretty darn easy for a 10%er.

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Photo of edchicma
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good representation of the style. The alcohol i sthere, but not overwhelming, The pour was an excellent dark copper with a good head for the high abv. Lacing was also better than one might expect. Smell is deciving, because the taste differs somewhat. I detected a good amount of floral hoppiness with a light spice undertone. Taste however, was mainly sweetish, malty and with good alcohol notes. Hop flavor was lightly understated. Mouthfeel was syupry, but not cloyingly so. Fairly smooth. For the high abv, drinkability was good as long as it is sipped to appreciate the varied qualities.

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Killer Penguin Barleywine from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
3.57 out of 5 based on 721 ratings.
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